GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy developer devoted to African renewables, will invest US$280 million to construct 200MW worth of solar PV plants in Nigeria.
The company anticipates quick procurement and expects that the plants will begin producing electricity in the first quarter of next year. GreenWish has already signed a long-standing PPA with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading company (NBET) to vend power generated from the plants into the national grid.
GreenWish has plans to build a 100MW solar plant in Enugu, and 50MW plants in both Kaduna and Jigawa. According to company CEO Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, the projects will be funded 70% through debt and 30% through equity.
Although GreenWish develops PV projects in West Africa at large, Nigeria has always been precedence. Heavily-reliant on costly and dirty fossil fuels such as diesel, the nation faces a huge energy deficit. Still only 50% of the inhabitants have access to grid power; but even those that do suffer from repeated power outages.
The planned 200MW of solar online in the first quarter of 2018 will supply sufficient power for 2.5 million people, while displacing 1.5 million tones of CO2 emissions.
“Particularly in the northern region where there is a higher deficit of power and a very huge need for growth, our vision is that solar can really bring a lot to the diversification and boost the energy mix of the nation; specially where gas is harder to bring in,” Aubin-Kalaidjian said
She also mentioned Nigeria’s chief ingredients of political commitment with technical capacity and a strong case for solar as reasons for GreenWish prioritizing the nation:
“A high political dedication is the main reason we are developing solar in Nigeria. We also see tough technical people within the government to discuss with, and these are really chief factors,” she said.
Aubin-Kalaidjian compared the political steadiness and readiness to incorporate renewables from Nigeria’s government to the government in Senegal, where GreenWish was able to build the first solar IPP in just a year.
“This is vital because our counterparty is the government. We need to have a counterparty that can pay the contracts. We need a counterparty that can let the currency to be paid,” she added.
Indeed, currency risk is very genuine issue in the Nigerian market as power shortages have considerably devalued the naira by more than a third of its value in the past year. Nevertheless, GreenWish Partners is not letting these technical challenges obscure its view of the potential Nigeria has for solar power.
“We have projects in West Africa from Senegal to Ivory Coast but Nigeria is a main priority because we see this high deficit of power and this soaring potential for solar .We have more than US$1 billion investment capacity, so there is ample room to do more,” said Aubin-Kalaidjian.